Monday, October 14, 2019

VI - Tudor Christmas - 12th Night

In addition to being the Night of Misrule (posted on earlier), the Twelfth Night (of the Christmas celebration). On this evening it was traditional for there to be entertainment enjoyed by all. This could include plays, music, and games. This is the day of misrule (covered earlier). 

Bagpipes were especially popular. Lots of games were played including ones with eggs. These included tossing an egg between two people moving further apart during each throw - drop it and you lose. Another popular game was 'snapdragon' where you picked raisins or other dried fruit out of a tray of flaming brandy!

Shakespeare's play The Twelfth Night, was introduced as entertainment for the 12th night in 1601 or 1602.

This was the biggest night of the season and particularly festive. It was also called the 'Feast of Fools'.

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Guests would be served pieces of the rich 12th Night cake, made of eggs, butter, fruits, nuts, and spices. Baked in the cake was a bean (or pea). 
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Which ever guest got the piece with the bean (or pea) was named the King (or Queen) of Misrule and oversaw the evening of excessive drinking, bawdy songs, indecent gestures, and parodies of the church and its rituals. All this large fun capped off the 12 day celebration of Christmas. The following day was Epiphany. 
Image result for medieval 12th night feast

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